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Fiddlesticks (1930)

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Flip the Frog is the featured performer at an outdoor nightclub in the forest. His dancing and piano-playing please the crowd of critters.


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Title: Fiddlesticks (1930)

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Flip the Frog jumps happily from lily pad to lily pad, crossing the pond in order to get to an outdoor nightclub in the forest. Flip is the featured performer, and the crowd of critters is happy to see him. As the insect orchestra plays below, Flip dances on a tree stump. Later, he plays the piano as a mouse accompanies him on the violin. The piano cries during a sad song, and Flip has to blow its nose. Flip offends his instrument by caressing its leg with a bit too much familiarity. The piano kicks Flip, and the frog retaliates by punching the keys as he plays. Flip's violent performance leads to a crashing finish. Written by J. Spurlin

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Release Date:

16 August 1930 (USA)  »

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(2-strip Technicolor)
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One of only two Flip the Frog cartoons produced in color. See more »


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User Reviews

12 November 2005 | by (San Diego) – See all my reviews

After breaking with Walt Disney, Ub Iwerks opened his own studio and introduced the world to his first solo cartoon creation, Flip the Frog. Flip would go on to appear in 38 cartoons, over half the output of Iwerks' studio. From the opening pan left we are introduced to a horizontal universe with nothing to offer in the way of depth construction. Our hero begins by hopping lily pads, a realistic trait that is quickly eliminated as Flip spends the rest of the short walking (and dancing) upright. A couple of buttons and a red bow-tie further undermine Flip's resemblance to a real frog. Without a plot to speak of, this Paleozoic venture into sound and color had only its star to rely on. Flip's sole raison d'etre in this short is to entertain two audiences: the one in the theater and an animated woodland gathering of insects, skunks and rodents. Credit Iwerks with completely avoiding repetition. Flip may cavort a bit too long, but he never makes the same move twice. At the piano, Flip is accompanied on the violin by a Mickey lookalike while interrupted by the spit from a tobacco-chewing robin. This is about as funny as the short gets, but as with the pioneer efforts of the Lumieres, Iwerks was more interested in movement (and characterization) than narrative storytelling. Besides, there are few things more charming at this point in cartoon history than the joyful dance that Flip, the mouse, the piano and its stool put on. Flip and his piano carry on a rather perverse relationship. Initially Flip offers a handkerchief to blow its keys on during a sad interlude. This compassion goes one step further as the frog begins to rub one out on the piano's leg. This causes the baby grand to give Flip a well-placed boot, only to have the frog finish by punching out a crescendo and ultimately kicking its teeth out. Long on seamless execution but lacking in character personality and development. A Disney cartoon void of Uncle Walt's flair for personification and storytelling.

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